The initial 2019 Memphis Redbirds roster features 12 of the Top-30 prospects in the St. Louis Cardinals organization according to Baseball America, in LHP Genesis Cabrera (#6), OF Lane Thomas (#7), C Andrew Knizner (#8), RHP Ryan Helsley (#11), INF Tommy Edman (#12), RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (#13), OF Adolis Garcia (#15), RHP Jake Woodford (#16), INF Edmundo Sosa (#22), INF Max Schrock (#25) and RHP Giovanny Gallegos (#29).
All of those players played at the Triple-A level last season and the roster features 21 total players that have Triple-A experience.
The 2019 Redbirds will be led by Ben Johnson, who enters his first season as a manager and within the St. Louis organization. The 37-year-old Germantown, Tenn., native spent last season as a coach with the International League Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay) and was part of a staff that led the Bulls to a 79-60 record and a second straight IL championship. Joining Johnson will be hitting coach Jobel Jimenez in his first season with Redbirds, pitching coach Dernier Orozco in his second season and coach Mike McDonald in his first year within the Cardinals organization.
On the field, the squad will employ 13 pitchers, two catchers, seven infielders and three outfielders. All 13 pitchers have Triple-A experience and eight spent time with various Major League clubs during 2018. Genesis Cabrera, Giovanny Gallegos, Austin Gomber, Ryan Helsley,Tommy Layne, Daniel Ponce de Leon, Tyler Webb and Jake Woodford are making their return to AutoZone Park. Gallegos, Gomber, Ponce de Leon, Shreve and Webb all spent time with the Cardinals in 2018, while Chris Beck, Mike Hauschild and Ryan Meisingerappeared with the White Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles respectively. Cabrera, Gallegos, Layne and Woodford all made appearances for the Redbirds during the 2018 playoffs.
Joe Hudson enters his first season in the St. Louis organization after appearing at various levels within the Cincinnati and Los Angeles-AL organizations in 2018. Andrew Knizner enters as the top catching prospect within the organization, making his Triple-A debut last season after beginning the year at Double-A Springfield.
The infield unit returns five players who played for the Redbirds during the regular season and playoffs last season in Tommy Edman, Rangel Ravelo, Max Schrock, Edmundo Sosa and Ramon Urias. Evan Mendoza and John Nogowski will both be making their Triple-A debuts after ending last season at Double-A Springfield. Sosa and Urias are members of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster, while Sosa is the lone infielder with MLB experience, appearing in three games with the Cardinals at the end of the 2018 season.
The outfield unit also features two members of the Cardinals’ 40-man roster in Adolis Garcia and Lane Thomas. Garcia and Thomas were two of the top minor league sluggers in the organization, with Garcia ranking third with 22 home runs and 71 RBI and Thomas ranking first with 27 home runs and 77 RBI. Johan Mieses makes his Triple-A debut.
The roster features a total of 13 players that have played at the Major League level, making a combined total of 756 appearances. Garcia, Gomber, Hudson, Meisinger, Ponce de Leon and Sosa all made their big-league debuts in 2018.
The 2019 season for the two-time defending Pacific Coast League Champion and 2018 Triple-A National Champion Redbirds begins with a five-game set against the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals) with Opening Night slated for a 7:05 first pitch tonight. For more information on the 2019 season, visit www.memphisredbirds.com.